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20 Highest Paying Jobs Out of College That Make Six Figures

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High-paying Jobs That Make 6figures Right out of College
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Are you a recent college graduate looking for lucrative career opportunities that offer six-figure salaries? In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the top 20 highest-paying jobs that you can pursue right out of college. These professions span various industries, including technology, finance, healthcare, and engineering. Each job provides a detailed overview of primary duties, average salary, job requirements, recent available jobs, and eligibility criteria. By the end of this article, you will have a clear understanding of the potential career paths that can lead you to financial success and professional growth.

20 Highest Paying Jobs Out of College That Make Six Figures

  1. Software Engineer

    Primary Duties:

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Software engineers are responsible for designing, developing, and maintaining software systems. They collaborate with cross-functional teams to analyze user needs, create software specifications, and write efficient code. Additionally, they conduct testing and debugging to ensure the functionality and quality of the software.

Average Salary:

The average salary for software engineers varies depending on factors such as experience, location, and industry. On average, software engineers can expect to earn around $110,000 to $130,000 per year.

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Job Requirements:

To become a software engineer, you typically need a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field. Proficiency in programming languages, problem-solving skills, and familiarity with software development methodologies are essential for success in this role.

Jobs To Look Out For:

  • Software Engineer – Full Stack Senior
  • Software Engineer
  • Software Development Engineer

Eligibility:

Recent college graduates with a degree in computer science or a related field are eligible to apply for entry-level software engineer positions. Internship experience or relevant project work can provide a competitive edge in the job market.

2. Investment Banker Primary Duties:

As an investment banker, your primary responsibilities include advising clients on financial strategies, facilitating mergers and acquisitions, conducting market research, and managing investment portfolios. You will also analyze financial statements, assess risk factors, and provide recommendations for investment opportunities.

Average Salary:

The average salary for investment bankers can range from $120,000 to $150,000 per year, depending on factors such as experience, performance, and location.

Job Requirements:

A strong foundation in finance, economics, or a related field is typically required to pursue a career in investment banking. Excellent analytical skills, knowledge of financial markets, and the ability to thrive in a fast-paced environment are essential.

Jobs To Look Out For:

  • Associate Investment Banker
  • Mergers and Acquisitions Analyst
  • Investment Banking Analyst

Eligibility:

Recent graduates with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in finance, economics, or a related field are eligible for entry-level investment banking positions. Relevant internships or prior experience in finance can enhance your chances of securing a job in this competitive field.

3. Data Scientist

Primary Duties:

As a data scientist, you will leverage statistical analysis, machine learning techniques, and programming skills to extract valuable insights from large datasets. Your primary duties include data cleaning, data visualization, predictive modeling, and communicating data-driven recommendations to stakeholders.

Average Salary:

Data scientists are highly sought after, and their salaries reflect the demand for their expertise. On average, data scientists earn between $120,000 and $140,000 per year, depending on experience and industry.

Job Requirements:

To become a data scientist, a strong foundation in mathematics, statistics, and programming is crucial. You should be proficient in programming languages such as Python or R and possess knowledge of data manipulation and analysis tools. Additionally, a master’s degree or higher in data science or a related field is often preferred.

Jobs To Look Out For:

  • Data Scientist
  • Senior Data Analyst
  • Machine Learning Engineer

Eligibility:

Recent college graduates with a degree in data science, computer science, mathematics, or a related field are eligible to apply for entry-level data scientist positions. Relevant internships or projects demonstrating data analysis skills can enhance your chances of securing a job in this competitive field.

4. Dentist

Primary Duties:

Dentists are responsible for diagnosing and treating oral health issues, performing dental procedures, and educating patients on proper dental care. They may specialize in areas such as general dentistry, orthodontics, or oral surgery.

Average Salary:

The average salary for dentists varies depending on factors such as location, experience, and specialization. On average, dentists can earn between $150,000 and $200,000 per year.

Job Requirements:

To become a dentist, you must complete a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree from an accredited dental school. This is followed by obtaining a state license to practice dentistry. Additionally, dentists should have excellent manual dexterity, interpersonal skills, and attention to detail.

Jobs To Look Out For:

  • General Dentist
  • Pediatric Dentist
  • Orthodontist

Eligibility:

Recent graduates with a DDS or DMD degree from an accredited dental school are eligible to apply for licensure and practice dentistry. Successful completion of the National Board Dental Examination and state licensing requirements is necessary.

5. Petroleum Engineer

Primary Duties:

Petroleum engineers are involved in the extraction of oil and gas resources. They evaluate potential drilling sites, design drilling and production methods, and monitor operations to maximize resource recovery.

Average Salary:

Petroleum engineers are among the highest-paid professionals. The average salary ranges from $130,000 to $180,000 per year, depending on experience and location.

Job Requirements:

A bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering or a related field is typically required to enter this profession. Strong analytical skills, knowledge of drilling techniques, and the ability to adapt to evolving technologies are important for success in this field.

Jobs To Look Out For:

  • Reservoir Engineer
  • Drilling Engineer
  • Production Engineer

Eligibility:

Recent graduates with a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering or a related field are eligible for entry-level positions in the industry. Internships or co-op experiences in the oil and gas sector can provide valuable practical knowledge and enhance job prospects.

6. Pharmacist

Primary Duties:

Pharmacists play a crucial role in healthcare by dispensing medications, providing patient counseling, and ensuring the safe and effective use of drugs. They collaborate with healthcare professionals to manage medication therapies, monitor drug interactions, and educate patients on proper medication administration.

Average Salary:

Pharmacists earn competitive salaries that can range from $120,000 to $150,000 per year, depending on experience, location, and type of pharmacy practice.

Job Requirements:

To become a pharmacist, you need to complete a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree from an accredited pharmacy school. Additionally, you must pass the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX) and fulfill state-specific requirements for licensure.

Jobs To Look Out For:

  • Clinical Pharmacist (Hospital Setting)
  • Retail Pharmacist (Community Pharmacy)
  • Pharmaceutical Industry Pharmacist (Research and Development)

Eligibility:

Recent graduates with a Pharm.D. degree from an accredited pharmacy school are eligible to apply for licensure and practice as pharmacists. Completion of internships or clinical rotations during pharmacy school is beneficial for gaining practical experience.

7. Actuary Primary Duties:

Actuaries specialize in assessing and managing risks in various industries, such as insurance and finance. Their primary duties include collecting and analyzing data, developing mathematical models, and using statistical techniques to evaluate the probability of certain events. Actuaries provide valuable insights to help organizations make informed decisions and mitigate risks.

Average Salary:

Actuaries are well-compensated for their expertise and the level of responsibility they undertake. On average, actuaries can earn between $120,000 and $150,000 per year, depending on experience, industry, and location.

Job Requirements:

To become an actuary, you typically need a strong background in mathematics, statistics, and economics. Actuarial science programs and professional certifications, such as those offered by the Society of Actuaries (SOA) or Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS), are highly recommended to enhance your knowledge and marketability.

Jobs To Look Out For:

  • Associate Actuary (Insurance Company)
  • Risk Analyst (Financial Services Firm)
  • Pension Consultant (Actuarial Consulting Firm)

Eligibility:

Recent graduates with a degree in mathematics, actuarial science, or a related field are eligible to pursue entry-level positions in the actuarial field. Achieving professional designations, such as Fellow of the Society of Actuaries (FSA) or Associate of the Casualty Actuarial Society (ACAS), is a key milestone for career advancement.

8. Product Manager Primary Duties:

Product managers play a crucial role in developing and managing products throughout their lifecycle. Their primary duties include conducting market research, defining product strategies, collaborating with cross-functional teams, overseeing product development, and analyzing market trends to ensure product success.

Average Salary:

The average salary for product managers varies depending on factors such as experience, company size, and industry. Typically, product managers can earn between $110,000 and $140,000 per year, with the potential for additional bonuses and incentives.

Job Requirements:

To excel as a product manager, you need a combination of business acumen, technical understanding, and excellent communication skills. A bachelor’s or master’s degree in business administration, marketing, or a related field is often preferred. Additionally, relevant experience in product management or a closely related role is highly beneficial.

Jobs To Look Out For:

  • Senior Product Manager (Technology Startup)
  • Product Marketing Manager (E-commerce Company)
  • Technical Product Manager (Software Development Firm)

Eligibility:

Recent college graduates with a degree in business, marketing, engineering, or a related field are eligible to pursue entry-level product management positions. Building a strong foundation through internships or co-op programs can provide valuable hands-on experience and increase your chances of securing a job in this competitive field.

9. Physician Assistant

Primary Duties:

Physician assistants (PAs) are healthcare professionals who work closely with physicians to provide patient care. Their primary duties include conducting physical examinations, diagnosing illnesses, ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests, assisting in surgeries, prescribing medications, and educating patients on preventive healthcare practices.

Average Salary:

Physician assistants receive competitive salaries that can range from $100,000 to $120,000 per year, depending on experience, specialty, and geographical location.

Job Requirements:

To become a physician assistant, you must complete a Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) program from an accredited institution. These programs typically require a bachelor’s degree and some healthcare-related experience. Additionally, you must pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) to obtain a state license.

Jobs To Look Out For:

  • Physician Assistant – Emergency Medicine (Hospital)
  • Orthopedic Physician Assistant (Orthopedic Clinic)
  • Primary Care Physician Assistant (Family Medicine Practice)

Eligibility:

Recent graduates with a bachelor’s degree and a strong foundation in healthcare sciences are eligible to apply for Master of Physician Assistant Studies programs. Completion of prerequisite courses, healthcare experience (such as medical assisting or volunteering), and a strong academic record are beneficial in the competitive application process.

10. Civil Engineer

Primary Duties:

Civil engineers are responsible for the design, construction, and maintenance of infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges, buildings, and water supply systems. Their primary duties include analyzing project requirements, conducting feasibility studies, designing structures, overseeing construction activities, and ensuring compliance with safety regulations.

Average Salary:

Civil engineers receive competitive salaries that can range from $90,000 to $120,000 per year, depending on experience, specialization, and location.

Job Requirements:

To become a civil engineer, you typically need a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering or a related field. Strong technical skills, proficiency in computer-aided design (CAD) software, and knowledge of relevant engineering codes and regulations are essential. Professional licensure is also required for civil engineers who provide services directly to the public.

Jobs To Look Out For:

  • Structural Engineer (Engineering Firm)
  • Transportation Engineer (Government Agency)
  • Environmental Engineer (Consulting Company)

Eligibility:

Recent graduates with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering or a related field are eligible for entry-level civil engineering positions. Internships or co-op experiences during your academic studies can provide valuable practical knowledge and enhance your job prospects.

11. Marketing Manager

Primary Duties:

Marketing managers are responsible for developing and implementing marketing strategies to promote products or services. Their primary duties include conducting market research, identifying target audiences, developing marketing campaigns, managing advertising and promotional activities, and analyzing campaign performance.

Average Salary:

Marketing managers receive competitive salaries that can range from $90,000 to $120,000 per year, depending on experience, company size, and industry.

Job Requirements:

To excel as a marketing manager, you need a combination of creative thinking, strategic planning, and strong communication skills. A bachelor’s or master’s degree in marketing, business administration, or a related field is often preferred. Relevant experience in marketing, advertising, or sales is highly beneficial.

Jobs To Look Out For:

  • Digital Marketing Manager (E-commerce Company)
  • Brand Manager (Consumer Goods Company)
  • Social Media Marketing Manager (Marketing Agency)

Eligibility:

Recent college graduates with a degree in marketing, business, communications, or a related field are eligible to pursue entry-level marketing positions. Building a strong foundation through internships, marketing projects, or relevant work experience can provide a competitive edge in the job market.

12. Aerospace Engineer

Primary Duties:

Aerospace engineers are involved in the design, development, and testing of aircraft, spacecraft, and related systems. Their primary duties include conducting research, designing aerospace vehicles and components, analyzing data, overseeing manufacturing processes, and ensuring compliance with safety and performance standards.

Average Salary:

Aerospace engineers receive competitive salaries that can range from $100,000 to $150,000 per year, depending on experience, specialization, and location.

Job Requirements:

To become an aerospace engineer, you typically need a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering or a related field. Strong mathematical and analytical skills, proficiency in computer-aided design (CAD) software, and knowledge of aerodynamics and materials science are essential. Additionally, some positions may require security clearance due to the nature of the work.

Jobs To Look Out For:

  • Aerospace Design Engineer (Aerospace Company)
  • Systems Engineer – Spacecraft (Government Agency)
  • Flight Test Engineer (Aviation Company)

Eligibility:

Recent graduates with a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering or a related field are eligible for entry-level positions in the aerospace industry. Internships, research projects, or involvement in aerospace organizations during your academic studies can provide valuable practical experience and increase your job prospects.

13. Financial Analyst

Primary Duties:

Financial analysts analyze investment opportunities, evaluate financial data, and provide recommendations to individuals and organizations regarding investment decisions. Their primary duties include conducting financial research, preparing financial reports, monitoring market trends, and assisting in investment portfolio management.

Average Salary:

Financial analysts receive competitive salaries that can range from $80,000 to $120,000 per year, depending on experience, industry, and location.

Job Requirements:

To excel as a financial analyst, you need a strong foundation in finance, accounting, economics, or a related field. Strong analytical skills, proficiency in financial modeling and analysis tools, and knowledge of financial markets and instruments are essential. Professional certifications, such as the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation, can enhance career prospects.

Jobs To Look Out For:

  • Investment Analyst (Asset Management Firm)
  • Equity Research Analyst (Investment Bank)
  • Financial Planning Analyst (Financial Services Company)

Eligibility:

Recent graduates with a bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting, economics, or a related field are eligible to pursue entry-level financial analyst positions. Relevant internships or experience in finance or investment analysis can provide a competitive edge in the job market.

14. Nurse Anesthetist

Primary Duties:

Nurse anesthetists are advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) who administer anesthesia during surgical procedures, monitor patients’ vital signs, and ensure their safety and comfort throughout the process. They collaborate closely with physicians, surgeons, and other healthcare professionals.

Average Salary:

Nurse anesthetists receive competitive salaries that can range from $160,000 to $200,000 per year, depending on experience, location, and healthcare facility.

Job Requirements:

To become a nurse anesthetist, you must first obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become a registered nurse (RN). After gaining experience in critical care nursing, you can pursue a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree with a specialization in nurse anesthesia. Following completion of the program, you must pass the National Certification Examination to become a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA).

Jobs To Look Out For:

  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (Hospital)
  • Anesthesia Provider (Surgical Center)
  • Pain Management Nurse (Pain Clinic)

Eligibility:

Registered nurses with a BSN and critical care nursing experience are eligible to pursue a master’s degree in nurse anesthesia. Completion of the necessary educational and certification requirements is essential to practice as a nurse anesthetist.

15. Management Consultant

Primary Duties:

Management consultants provide strategic advice and guidance to organizations to help them improve their performance, operations, and profitability. Their primary duties include conducting research and analysis, identifying business problems, developing solutions, and assisting in implementing organizational changes.

Average Salary:

Management consultants receive competitive salaries that can range from $100,000 to $150,000 per year, depending on experience, firm size, and industry.

Job Requirements:

To excel as a management consultant, you typically need a bachelor’s or master’s degree in business administration, management, or a related field. Strong analytical and problem-solving skills, effective communication and presentation abilities, and business acumen are essential. Professional certifications, such as the Certified Management Consultant (CMC), can enhance career prospects.

Jobs To Look Out For:

  • Strategy Consultant (Management Consulting Firm)
  • Operations Improvement Analyst (Technology Company)
  • Organizational Change Consultant (Human Resources Firm)

Eligibility:

Recent graduates with a degree in business, management, or a related field are eligible to pursue entry-level management consulting positions. Relevant internships, case competitions, or consulting projects can provide practical experience and increase your chances of securing a job in this competitive field.

16. Mechanical Engineer

Primary Duties:

Mechanical engineers apply engineering principles to design, develop, and test mechanical devices and systems. They work on projects ranging from automobiles and machinery to renewable energy technologies. Primary duties include conducting research, creating design plans, analyzing data, and overseeing the manufacturing and testing processes.

Average Salary:

Mechanical engineers receive competitive salaries that can range from $80,000 to $110,000 per year, depending on experience, industry, and location.

Job Requirements:

To become a mechanical engineer, you typically need a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering or a related field. Strong analytical and problem-solving skills, proficiency in computer-aided design (CAD) software, and knowledge of manufacturing processes are essential. Professional licensure is not always required but can enhance career prospects.

Jobs To Look Out For:

  • Mechanical Design Engineer (Engineering Firm)
  • HVAC Engineer (Construction Company)
  • Automotive Engineer (Automobile Manufacturer)

Eligibility:

Recent graduates with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering or a related field are eligible for entry-level positions in the field. Relevant internships, co-op programs, or engineering projects during your academic studies can provide practical experience and increase your job prospects.

17. IT Manager

Primary Duties:

IT managers oversee an organization’s technology infrastructure, ensuring its smooth operation, security, and alignment with business goals. Their primary duties include managing IT teams, developing technology strategies, implementing systems and software, and ensuring data integrity and cybersecurity.

Average Salary:

IT managers receive competitive salaries that can range from $90,000 to $130,000 per year, depending on experience, industry, and company size.

Job Requirements:

To excel as an IT manager, you typically need a bachelor’s or master’s degree in computer science, information technology, or a related field. Strong leadership and communication skills, technical expertise, and a deep understanding of IT systems and processes are essential. Relevant certifications, such as Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) or Project Management Professional (PMP), can enhance career prospects.

Jobs To Look Out For:

  • IT Manager (Technology Company)
  • Infrastructure Manager (Financial Institution)
  • Cybersecurity Manager (Government Agency)

Eligibility:

Recent graduates with a degree in computer science, information technology, or a related field are eligible to pursue entry-level positions in IT management. Building a strong foundation through internships, IT projects, or relevant work experience can provide a competitive edge in the job market.

18. Lawyer

Primary Duties:

Lawyers provide legal advice, represent clients in court, and handle various legal matters. They may specialize in areas such as corporate law, criminal law, or intellectual property law. Primary duties include conducting legal research, preparing legal documents, negotiating settlements, and advocating for clients.

Average Salary:

Lawyers receive competitive salaries that can range from $80,000 to $160,000 per year, depending on experience, specialization, and location.

Job Requirements:

To become a lawyer, you need to complete a Juris Doctor (JD) degree from an accredited law school and pass the bar examination in the state where you intend to practice. Strong analytical and research skills, excellent written and verbal communication, and the ability to think critically are essential for success in this field.

Jobs To Look Out For:

  • Corporate Lawyer (Law Firm)
  • Criminal Defense Attorney (Public Defender’s Office)
  • Intellectual Property Lawyer (Technology Company)

Eligibility:

Recent law school graduates who have passed the bar examination are eligible to practice law. Gaining practical experience through internships, clinics, or clerkships during law school can provide valuable hands-on experience and increase your job prospects.

19. Physical Therapist

Primary Duties:

Physical therapists help patients recover from injuries or illnesses by developing personalized treatment plans and implementing therapeutic exercises and techniques. They assess patients’ conditions, provide hands-on therapy, and educate them on injury prevention and rehabilitation.

Average Salary:

Physical therapists receive competitive salaries that can range from $80,000 to $100,000 per year, depending on experience, specialization, and geographical location.

Job Requirements:

To become a physical therapist, you need to earn a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree from an accredited program. This typically requires completing a bachelor’s degree in a related field, followed by a DPT program that focuses on coursework and clinical rotations. Additionally, you must pass the National Physical Therapy Examination and obtain a state license to practice.

Jobs To Look Out For:

  • Physical Therapist – Orthopedics (Private Practice)
  • Pediatric Physical Therapist (Children’s Hospital)
  • Sports Rehabilitation Therapist (Sports Clinic)

Eligibility:

Recent graduates with a DPT degree are eligible to apply for licensure and practice as physical therapists. Gaining experience through internships, volunteering, or shadowing in physical therapy settings can provide valuable practical knowledge and enhance job prospects.

20. Marketing Director

Primary Duties:

Marketing directors are responsible for developing and implementing marketing strategies to promote products or services. They oversee marketing campaigns, manage marketing teams, analyze market trends, and collaborate with other departments to ensure effective marketing efforts.

Average Salary:

Marketing directors receive competitive salaries that can range from $100,000 to $150,000 per year, depending on experience, industry, and company size.

Job Requirements:

To excel as a marketing director, you typically need a bachelor’s or master’s degree in marketing, business administration, or a related field. Strong leadership and communication skills, strategic thinking, and a deep understanding of marketing principles and techniques are essential. Relevant experience in marketing or a related role is highly beneficial.

Jobs To Look Out For:

  • Director of Marketing (Consumer Goods Company)
  • Digital Marketing Director (Marketing Agency)
  • Brand Marketing Director (Fashion Retailer)

Eligibility:

Experienced marketing professionals with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in marketing or a related field are eligible to pursue marketing director positions. Building a strong track record of success, gaining industry knowledge, and demonstrating leadership skills are crucial for advancing to this role.

Conclusion

In this comprehensive guide, we have explored 20 of the highest-paying jobs out of college that have the potential to offer six-figure salaries. Each profession offers unique opportunities for growth, financial success, and personal fulfillment. From mechanical engineering to marketing, nursing to law, these careers span various industries and require different educational backgrounds and skill sets.

By considering your interests, qualifications, and long-term goals, you can make an informed decision about the career path that aligns with your aspirations. Remember, success in these high-paying jobs requires dedication, continuous learning, and the ability to adapt to evolving industry trends. Stay informed about the latest advancements, develop your skills, and seize opportunities for professional growth.

With the right combination of education, experience, and dedication, you can build a rewarding career that not only provides financial stability but also offers personal fulfillment, growth, and a positive impact on society.

By exploring these high-paying career options, you can take the first step toward achieving your professional goals. It’s important to invest in your education, gain practical experience, and continually enhance your skills to stand out in the competitive job market. With determination and perseverance, you can embark on a successful and fulfilling career journey.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

What qualifications do I need to become a software engineer? To become a software engineer, you typically need a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field. Some positions may require a master’s degree or specialized certifications.

How long does it take to become a dentist? Becoming a dentist usually requires completing a bachelor’s degree, followed by four years of dental school. In total, it takes approximately eight years of education and training.

Are there opportunities for advancement in these careers? Yes, many of these careers offer opportunities for advancement. By gaining experience, developing specialized skills, and pursuing additional education or certifications, you can progress to higher-level positions with increased responsibilities and higher salaries.

What is the job outlook for these careers? The job outlook for many of these careers is promising. Technological advancements, industry growth, and evolving healthcare needs contribute to the demand for professionals in these fields. However, it’s essential to stay informed about industry trends and adapt to changing market conditions.

How important is networking in securing these high-paying jobs? Networking plays a significant role in securing high-paying jobs. Building professional connections, attending industry events, and utilizing online platforms can help you discover job opportunities, gain insights, and connect with influential individuals who can open doors to career advancement.